Vol16 No.3: 487-503
【Title】Origin of the Mushroom Stone Forest at the southeastern foot of the Little Sangpu Mountain in eastern Guangdong, China: A palaeo-sea-level indicator or not?
【Author】LI Jian-cheng1; WANG Wei2*; ZHENG Yan-ming1
【Addresses】1 Geography department of Hanshan Normal University, Chaozhou 5210141, China; 2 Geographic school of South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
【Corresponding author】WANG Wei
【Citation】Li JC, Wang W, Zheng YM (2019) Origin of the Mushroom Stone Forest at the southeastern foot of the Little Sangpu Mountain in eastern Guangdong, China: A palaeo-sea-level indicator or not? Journal of Mountain Science 16(3). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5181-1
【Abstract】The Mushroom Stone Forest, which consists of granite boulders looking like mushrooms with flared sidewalls, is located in eastern Guangdong, China, and is a famous scenic spot that draws many tourists each year. The Mushroom Stone Forest has been traditionally recognized as a collection of wave erosion landforms and used for the reconstruction of palaeo-sea-level changes along the coastal areas of eastern Guangdong in previous coastal researches. By combining in situ measurements of the aspect, vertical profile and height of boulder sidewalls, palaeo-coastal wave direction estimation, rock density determination, major elemental analysis, and petrographic thin section analysis, this paper presents an alternative origin for the Mushroom Stone Forest. Our results suggest that wave or wind erosion cannot offer a satisfactory explanation for the formation of the Mushroom Stone Forest; The boulders that make up the Mushroom Stone Forest originated from the corestones in the granite weathering crusts of the Little Sangpu Mountain; When the debris of the weathering crust was removed, the corestones are perched on rocky outcrops or half-buried by weathering debris beneath the natural land surface; The flared sidewall (concave vertical profile) of the boulders is a particular form developed in the foot zone of a half-buried boulder through increased chemical weathering beneath the land surface. A recent exposed half-buried boulder found in the study area provides convincing evidence to support this argument. Sea water reached the foot of the Sangpu Mountain during the Holocene transgression, but it merely provided a mechanism to erode the weathering debris from the bottom of the mushroom rocks and enhanced salt weathering that created tafoni on the boulders. These findings demonstrate that the boulders of the Mushroom Stone Forest are not sea stacks and cannot be served as a palaeo-sea-level indicator.
【Keywords】Biotite granite; Mushroom rock; Sea level indictor; Wave erosion; Chemical weathering; Little Sangpu Mountain; China